Novel material improves air quality thanks to Aura Innovation Centre partnership
As one of the UK’s leading chassis manufacturers, Gateway places high value on the health and wellbeing of their workforce, their environmental impact and energy consumption levels.
Working with the Aura Innovation Centre, we wanted to look at the quality of air in the workplace, along with the level of emissions being released into the atmosphere through our processes. In particular that meant looking at a reduction in Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and other atmospheric particulate matter (PM) with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres, only visible by microscope.
Dave Dawson, Innovation Manager at the Aura Innovation Centre, worked with Gateway to successfully apply for, and gain, ERDF funded support from the AIC, matching the business with a leading expert in the chemistry of materials from the University of Hull’s Department of Chemical Engineering, Dr Xueben Ke.
His work in this field had already resulted in a novel nano-material with the potential to filter out these harmful particles from the workplace, determining a key focus for the project. After an assessment period reporting on the air pollution levels, identifying pollutants and flow rate across the facility, the second phase of the solution was to recommend air monitoring solutions and technology to purify the air before venting into the atmosphere.
The research provided evidence that the new material could remove 100% of particles with sizes down to PM2.5, also effective at removing all formaldehyde from welding emissions. The result was a reduction in the total level of VOC’s by a staggering 82%, significantly reducing the harmful emissions being sent into the atmosphere.
Using the new nano-material also reduced the number of carbon fibre mats being used in the extractor fans, as they can now be washed and re-used, lasting up to 12 times longer than previously.
Managing Director of Gateway Chassis Solutions, Chris Ramsden said; “In order to look at the health and safety of our workforce, we needed to look at the environmental aspects of our work as our manufacturer and how we could improve on them.
“Working with Aura, Dave and Zueben has created an innovative solution that not only addresses the internal air quality, but also makes sure what what we pump out is clean as well. The benefits are huge. Our goal is to become carbon neutral, to be come a more sustainable and environmentally friendly chassis manufacturer, and we’ve shifted our position significantly towards that. We can all play our part as businesses, and with the help of the Aura Innovation Centre we have been making a series of positive changes to do exactly that.
He concludes; “We have a policy of continuous improvement and a track record of managing changes positively, and that’s appreciated by both our workforce and customers.”
To hear more about this partnership project click below: